THOSE WHO FOLLOW GOD
Paul admonished the Christians at Ephesus to, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." (Ephesians 5:1) As dear and precious children of God Christians must feel strongly the obligation to be followers of God. Our entire life and conduct must be like the Lord Jesus. In actions, words and attitude we must imitate Him. We are God's children and it is natural for children to imitate their parents. It should be our constant aim to imitate our Heavenly Father. Those who follow God must show their love to our heavenly Father. We must develop His mind in our hearts and show in our life that we are like our Father.
Those who follow God must walk in love. Jesus is our great example of love. He offered Himself to God as an offering and a sacrifice for our sins. "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." (Ephesians 5:2) Our lives must be characterized by love. Our love for God must be evidenced in all of our behavior. Our love motivates the sacrifice of ourselves to God and to others. Once self has been offered, the sacrifice of time, money or other possessions is not difficult. Those who have difficulty offering "things" to God should "first give their own selves to the Lord." God's love for us motivates us to "walk in love." "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
Those who follow God must avoid sinful things. Paul wrote, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5:3-4) Followers of God must avoid: (1) Any type of illicit sexual intercourse, (2) All impurity -- moral, physical or motive, (3) A greedy desire to have more, (4) Obscenity, (5) Foolish talking, and (6) Language that is indecent, coarse, vulgar or abusive. These qualities are very unbecoming to those professing Christianity. If these things are allowed into the life of a Christian it says to the world that Christianity is only being professed, not practiced.
Those who follow God must practice the art of giving thanks. Do not practice sinful things instead; practice the art of "giving thanks." (Ephesians 5:4) Jesus is our great example of thanksgiving. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus gave thanks. (John 11:41) While instituting His Supper the Bible says Jesus "gave thanks." (Luke 22:17-20) Jesus was thankful and His followers must also practice the art of thanksgiving. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Our greatest privilege and our greatest challenge are to be a follower of God. Following God begins with Bible study and obedience. (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 2:36-38) It continues as self is sacrificed to God. (Romans 12:1) The result of following God is "an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians 5:5)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA